All Sorts of Anxiety

We’ve reached a new stage in Mason’s life – the stage where he’s afraid of things that we can’t see or understand and it really sucks. He’s really been having issues with sleeping for the last month or so (really ever since we came back from vacation) and now last week, he started having serious stranger worries, even when the people aren’t really strangers, and it’s really sad.

I went to drop him off at daycare last Thursday morning and we walked in, he took one look at the teacher, and turned around and clung to me like his life depended on it. I couldn’t physically peel him off of me and he was trying hard not to cry. Another teacher came in and suggested maybe he was being shy because the girl was new and they’d never met before, but he wouldn’t go anywhere near the teachers that he usually runs to hug, either. The next day, he encountered a Mom who we’ve played with on the playground before and he had the same reaction to her. That night, his Auntie Joy, who he just played with at the park a few weeks earlier was just as scary – total clinging, face buried, and practically crying if she talked to him. This morning? He clung to me when his best friend talked to him, another little two year old. I have no clue what is going on and it makes me so sad – if these were all daycare related incidents, I would think something happened there, but since they’ve happened in stores and elsewhere, it’s like someone flicked a switch in our usually very social son.

Then there is the whole sleep issue. After we came home from the Dells, he started having a hard time falling asleep. Now, Mason is a kid who has been sleeping through the night since he was 7 or 8 weeks old. He’s always been asleep within minutes and if he fusses in the night, he falls right back asleep. But once we got back from vacation, bedtime became an ordeal. First was the stalling – wanting to try to potty, wanting one more episode of TV, requesting certain stuffed animals, not liking his pajamas. Ignoring his pleas led to HOURS (literally) of crying. But even on those nights that he doesn’t have requests and seems super tired? He is still likely to stay up for an hour or two, alternating talking to himself and sobbing for us. We’ve tried comforting, we’ve tried later bedtime, earlier bedtime, later nap, earlier nap, shorter nap, longer nap, letting him cry it out, EVERYTHING it seems and he’s usually still up and crying hours after we put him down for the night.

And then there are the nightmares…. Several times in the past two weeks, he’s woken up sobbing and shaking – you go to him and he’ll cling to you and cry “scared, scared” and just cry his little heart out. It’s absolutely heartbreaking and it takes a long long time to calm him back down. And a lot of times, an hour later, he’s up again sobbing.

He’s got a night light in his room, nothing has moved or changed since he was born, nothing looks scary, he has two things in his crib that he can “light up” if need be, and he can never articulate what is scary, so I’m lost on what else we can do for him.

Does anyone have any tips or suggestions? Part of me is saying this is all related – like he’s getting such poor sleep it’s causing anxiety issues during the day and the lack of sleep and scary day is causing the bad dreams? Either way, I miss my outgoing little boy who was well rested. Any tips, experiences, or ideas you guys may have would be MUCH MUCH appreciated!!

4 thoughts on “All Sorts of Anxiety

  1. Ellen Post author

    Oh, I’m so sorry! I wish I had good advice but don’t. That’s so sad, poor little guy. I had night terrors as a child, and though I don’t remember it I know it was really, really hard on my parents. I hope you find an answer!

  2. Trina Post author

    I seems to remember night terrors being somewhat normal for his age. (I think I read that on BabyCenter) It means his brain is “turning on” as my husband says, and it is scary to them. There are racing thoughts where there used to be

    As for the switching from social to non, that’s also normal. Our kids go from outgoing to shy in an instant!

    All that said, there’s NEVER anything wrong with asking your doctor. Sometimes the peace of mind is worth the co-pay.

  3. Kendall Post author

    I hope that you find something that helps him. 🙁 I have not dealt with this with my kids so I have no words of wisdom. Hopefully somebody does. Poor guy and poor you!

  4. LeeAnn Post author

    I agree with what Trina said. At this stage in his life, his brain is working overtime and learning so much, that it just can’t turn off. Bryce isn’t doing the shy thing regularly, but he does do it sometimes, but isn’t going to sleep at night for sometimes 2 hours! Like Mason, he has always been a good sleeper. Luckily the nightmares haven’t started with Bryce yet, but Rylie starting getting very bad nightmares and night terrors right around her third birthday. I have spoken to the pediatrician, and she confirmed that it is because they are learning so much, and they are even learning that there are things in the world to be afraid of, etc. I could keep going here, but I think you get what I’m saying. Hopefully this phase of Mason’s life will not last too long. Good luck.

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